Laser printers and consumables: a guide for choosing and extending the life of a printer

    In general, there are a lot of people on Habr who are well versed in printers and consumables for them. But more, probably, those who perceive the printer as a device familiar to everyone (almost like an iron), which "works and okay."
    And if this approach is still acceptable for home use, then for the office inattention to the printer can result in significant costs (and a wrong printer choice generally threatens to turn into a black hole for finance). And for a home user, it would also be nice to save a couple of thousand rubles, right?
    As we matured, we decided to publish a short memo article for printer users (the article is “tailored” for working with laser printers, a couple of references to inkjets, and that’s all).
    The article has some tips for choosing a printer, for choosing cartridges (so far we are only talking about laser), plus tips for the proper operation of printers and consumables for them.
    We also decided to develop an application - a nice reminder for working with a printer for the “accountant Varvara Germanovna” and other employees. The memo can be printed and hung near your printer.

    Choose the right printer? Challenge accepted

    1. Decide on the approximate print volume: up to 50 pages per month or 50,000 pages per day.
    In the first case, the simplest inkjet printer is suitable for you (do not forget about the danger of ink drying out) or the services of printing centers (which is economically feasible with such a volume). In general, it can be delivered for 2,000 rubles. inkjet and do not worry anymore about this.
    The inkjet is also justified for the constant load of high-quality (photo printing) printing. But here it’s worth looking at the situation - do you need a painter with a inkjet and CISS (continuous ink supply system), or is it easier for you to constantly work with a photo studio / printing studio?
    If the need for printing exceeds 100 pages per month, we recommend buying a modern basic laser for 4,000 rubles.
    With a home printer it’s clear, but how to estimate the amount of print in the office? We recommend taking the average amount of paper ordered at the office as a basis. Then, you need to determine the number of printers per company: either it will be one large productive device in the corridor, or several basic printers in the cabinets. But we must not forget that by putting one large printer in the office, the savings on additional printers turn out to be, albeit small, but daily, labor costs for employees.
    You can determine the type of printer (s) based on the classification of printing equipment for the recommended load: personal, small, medium and large.
    Personal printershave a resource of up to 5,000 pages per month and are designed for home use or in the office with small print volumes. Most inkjet printers / MFPs (multifunction devices) and simple models of laser and LED printers / MFPs fall into this category.
    Small appliances are MFPs and printers that can print from 5,000 to 10,000 pages per month. This is the most common class of devices; it is used in small offices or in individual offices.
    Mid-range printers print between 20,000 and 50,000 pages per month. Such devices can be placed one at a time in a large office, the feed trays allow you to make a significant supply of paper for intensive printing.
    Large office equipmentcapable of printing over 50,000 pages per month without loss of performance. Such devices come close to mini printing houses in their productivity and can be used to print a small circulation of brochures.
    If the speed of printing documents is important in your office, you need to understand that the higher the printer class, the faster it prints.

    2. Plan your budget for printing in general.
    All logical arguments when choosing a printer are broken down on a budget. But financial investments after buying a printer do not end far, but, most often, are just beginning.
    To insure against unplanned expenses, you need to consider printing costs, taking into account concepts such as:
    Copy price- includes the cost of consumables: cartridges and paper. In calculations, paper is often not taken into account, since the price of it is stable; however, its cost is an average of 25 kopecks per sheet.
    The cost of use includes, in addition to the price of a copy, also the cost of equipment, preventive maintenance of printers, repair work and the cost of spare parts.
    Total cost of copy : this is the cost of use / number of copies for the entire planned period of use of the equipment. The average term of operation is from 3 to 5 years depending on the load (the manufacturer indicates this period in the documentation for the printer).

    3. Decide on the color of the print: black or color.
    The real need for printing color images fluctuates around 5% of the total print volume. And for the sake of these 5%, a color printer is often purchased an order of magnitude higher than the cost of a monochrome printer.
    It is better to print color photographs from a corporate party in any photo studio, moreover, more qualitatively and “for inexpensive”. This is how to buy a convertible in St. Petersburg. It seems nice and cool, but with an open top you can ride 2-3 days a month, and then not every year :) And if you, besides corporate photos, have nothing more to print in color, we recommend that you still buy a monochrome printer.

    4. Pay attention to the type of cartridge system in the printer:
    - “all in one” (for laser printers, the cartridge is monolithic);
    - “composite cartridge” (for laser printers, the cartridge may consist of 2 or 3 parts).
    If you plan to purchase one printer, then you can deal with a composite laser cartridge, and with the adjustment of the CISS system of an inkjet printer (if you buy the same inkjet).
    But if you have several printers in your possession that are used by several dozens of users, then composite cartridge systems will greatly complicate the maintenance process. The all-in-one system is much less troublesome.

    5. How many users will print documents on this machine.
    Yes, the more employees, the faster printers die.
    It is economically more profitable to put 1 device in an “open space” type office, but this is practically difficult to implement: documents get confused, duplicate reprints occur. There are individual printing systems for cards, but they are expensive (unique software + additional equipment) and their implementation should have a serious justification.

    6. With large print volumes, you need to think about how the maintenance process for printing equipment will be organized.
    This is not always obvious, but the printing equipment, like any other, needs to be prevented. Someone prefers to conduct it on their own, someone uses the services of outsourcers.
    If the company has 100 printers (some of which are in remote branches), you need to decide who will serve the printers: full-time employees or an external company.
    But rarely can anyone afford a full-time specialist in print. So, for example, a 5-day training course on using printers from Hewlett-Packard costs about $ 750, in Moscow (for b / w and color - different courses). And if the specialist quits ...
    On the organization of printing systems in medium and large offices, we can write a separate article if such an interest arises.

    7. We also suggest that the density of the printed sheet is filled.
    What for? Here is an interesting statistic, about which few people know.
    Printer manufacturers issue all technical specifications on the basis of a standard indicator - a 5% coverage of a printed sheet. If the% filling of the sheet increases, so does the rate of cartridge consumption.
    Example of 5% filling of a printed sheet
    An example of a 15% filling of a printed sheet.

    For example, one of the top models - the HP CB436A cartridge is designed for 2,000 sheets. It turns out that at 5% coverage it will print 2,000 sheets, and at 15% coverage it is 3 times smaller, i.e. 666 pages ...
    Not a new, but popular cartridge C7115A is designed for 2500 sheets at 5% coverage, and at 15% coverage it prints 3 times less, i.e. about 834 pages.

    8. Decide on additional options for the printing device.
    In addition to the basic configuration, the printer can have many more additional configurations that directly affect the cost of the device. Let us dwell on the main ones:
    Copying, scanning, telephone, fax - these are the tasks that MFPs solve, and not a simple printer.
    Duplex(duplexer), which allows you to not manually turn over documents that must be printed on both sides.
    Printing on special paper (cardboard, labels, photo paper) - high-quality printing without breaking the printer will only occur with this option in its configuration.
    Printing from a mobile device - increasingly, modern printer models are equipped with the option of printing via a local wireless network, but in practice it is not often used.
    Printing from USB, memory cards , etc.
    Additional paper trays (there may be several) - allow you to fill the printer with paper sometimes months in advance.
    Finishers- automatic hole punchers, staplers, booklet makers, etc. These devices are equipped with “heavy” A3 devices. Their acquisition directly depends on the tasks assigned to the printer.
    Sorters (mailboxes) - sort printed documents when sharing.
    Hard disk - speeds up printing on pre-created templates, for example, letterhead, where only the text is changed.
    The presence of a touch display on the printer - makes it easier to manage printing processes.
    Battery operation - for force majeure situations and for mobile printing.

    Choose the right cartridge? Let's try

    When choosing any product / service, we first of all evaluate them according to 2 main criteria: price and quality, it is difficult to find a compromise between them:
    1) original cartridges : the print quality is standard, but it is really expensive
    2) remanufactured cartridges : print quality is close to original cartridges, they are 30-40% cheaper than original cartridges, but savings are felt only in the long run;
    3) compatible cartridges : they are 2-3 times cheaper than the original ones, but their quality is unstable and the resource is lower than the original ones (since the print is “denser”, the toner consumption is more);
    4) refilled cartridges: “Cheap and cheerful” in the truest sense: the most economical solution, but the yield and print quality of the cartridge are unpredictable.

    When choosing which cartridges to use (we repeat, we are talking only about laser cartridges) it is important to prioritize and decide on the following print parameters:
    - quality of the printed document ("it doesn’t matter at all" - compatible and refilled cartridges; "important" - restored and original ones; " color rendering is very important ”- original);
    - cost of the printed document (“it doesn’t matter at all” - original cartridges; “quick saving is important” - refilled and compatible; “very important, we optimize costs” - restored);
    - environmental friendliness (trend, and in some companies - already a necessary requirement); figuratively speaking, buying and discarding an original or compatible cartridge, you “dig a plastic bag into the ground after the first use”; when refilling the cartridge, you “dig a plastic bag into the ground after the 2nd use”; using recovery - you are "using a paper bag."

    And here is a reminder for the operation of printers and consumables for them


    cartridges are correctly installed in the printer ; do not try to install the cartridge without reading the instructions: you can damage not only the cartridge, but also the printer itself;
    print b / w documents on monochrome printers and DO NOT print b / w documents on color printers ; since when printing a b / w document, the wear of parts of all 4 color cartridges occurs as in color printing;
    Remove jammed paper correctly. if paper is jammed in the printer, you can’t just drag it by pulling it (especially, remove it with scissors, rulers, etc.); the correct way to remove jammed paper from the printer depends on the model of the machine and is described in the user manual; best of all - contact the specialist responsible for servicing the device;
    monitor the humidity and temperature of the air in the room ; the toner is a very complex substance and the manufacturer describes all the characteristics of printing a printer, referring to ideal conditions (a certain humidity and air temperature); the simplest humidifier can save you several tens of thousands of rubles on the repair of the device; according to statistics - the number of breakdowns of printers and cartridges increases with the onset of the heating season;
    carry out regular preventive maintenance of the printer (service); it is always cheaper than one-time repairs in fact (disease prevention is always cheaper than treatment);
    properly place the printer indoors ; It is not recommended to place the printer near a window or on a windowsill (dust, humidity and temperature instability adversely affect printer parts); in addition, the printer should stand on a flat surface slightly larger than its area (since if one leg of the printer moves off the surface, the load on its individual parts will change);
    correctly place blank paper in the printer ; ideally, clean paper taken out of the stack should be scrolled before being placed in the printer (to avoid sheets “sticking” from static electricity);
    take into account the thickness and type of printing paper ; printing on thick paper, glossy, adhesive, on printers that are not designed for these types of paper is dangerous for the printer;
    do not use draft copies for printing ; it is generally accepted that printing on drafts is economical, however, this is not entirely true: the old draft toner may crumble and bake on the fuser of the printer; saving on paper will amount to a couple of hundred rubles, and the cost of repairing the printer stove - several thousand rubles;
    respond correctly to force majeure ; when liquid or small objects get into the printer, the device must be pulled out of the socket, “shout out loud“ Help! ”” (call a specialist);
    make sure that paper clips, strokes, glue, adhesive tape, etc. do not get inside the printer ; according to statistics, a paper clip is the main enemy of the printer; the rule applies here: use the printer for its intended purpose; foreign objects (cookies, cosmetics, and nest egg until salary) cannot be stored in printer trays.

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